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g4And they’re off!  The new school season has begun!  As I stand on my front porch blowing kisses and waving to my children as they get on the bus, I can’t help but think about all the germ-filled classrooms, just waiting for clean, healthy kids to enter them.

“Think positive,” I say to myself.  Let’s hope my children can make it through the fall and winter seasons without getting sick.

Maybe a quick review in staying as germ-free as possible might be in order after school today.

We all know by now that frequent hand washing is one of the first lines of defense against colds, flu, and germs.  But hand washing must be done correctly in order to be effective.

  1. Teach children to wash their hands throughout the day, especially during school.  Using warm water and soap lather up your hands for about 20 seconds, then rinse.  Use a paper towel to dry hands AND to turn off the faucet.
  2. Many children pick up cold and flu germs during lunch.  Do not share drinks.  Bring your own water bottle to school.  If sharing a snack, use a utensil or napkin to transfer snacks from one plate to another.  When eating a sandwich, wrap a napkin around half of your sandwich while eating it.  Avoid picking up any food directly with your hands. Wash your hands before and after lunch.
  3. Keep hands away from your nose and mouth.  As funny as it sounds, many kids walk around chewing on their necklaces, sweatshirt sleeves or the ties to the hood on their sweatshirts.  In class, many kids rest their faces in their hands or lay their heads on their desks, which allows germs to reach their nose and mouth.
  4. Cold and flu germs are easily passed from person to person and from surface to surface.  Children can pick up germs from passing papers, and sharing scissors, glue sticks, pencil and pens.  Germs are found on water fountains, cafeteria trays, computer keyboards, doorknobs, gym equipment, locker room benches, locks, pencil sharpeners, and desks.  Have your child keep homemade wipes and antibacterial gel at their desks and in their lockers and backpacks.
  5. On the bus ride home avoid using your friend’s phone, and keep your backpacks and bags off the bus floor.
  6. When the kids arrive home, be sure to have a designated area for school shoes and backpacks that is not too close to the kitchen counters or the kitchen table.
  7. Getting plenty of sleep, drinking enough water, exercising daily, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables will help keep your child’s immune system strong and energy level high.

To make your own antibacterial gel, mix together 2 parts aloe gel, 1 part distilled water, 1 part grain alcohol, and 5 drops of tea tree and lavender oil in a bowl.  Pour into the container of your choice (plastic squeeze bottle, mini spray bottle, etc.).  For a thicker recipe, use less water.

To make your own homemade wipe, cut a roll of Bounty paper towels in half.  Accordion-fold the wipes and place them in a plastic Ziploc container.  In a bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups distilled water, 1 tablespoon Castille soap, 1 tablespoon witch hazel extract, 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel, 10 drops grapefruit seed extract, 10 drops of lavender, lemon, or orange essential oils.  Pour solution over paper towels and let absorb.

Got any tips on staying germ-free this fall season?  Share them with us!